Phillies have had some memorable October moments
You can enjoy watching the World Series beginning Friday night. The Phillies returned to the “Big Dance” for the first time since 2009.
The Phils will face the Houston Astros, who they played in a memorable NLCS series back in 1980 when the Astros were a member of the National League.
In this week’s version of Yesterday, a column dedicated to reminiscing about local pro and college teams as well as some pop culture items from the 1960s, 70s, 80s - and sometimes beyond - I will look at some Phillies’ October moments (aside from the 1980 championship) as well as some that dotted the Halloween month as well.
That Three-Day Game
: On Oct. 27, 2008, the Phillies began Game Five of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays. A series of storms and a controversial decision from MLB commissioner Bud Selig would have the game’s final three innings be played two days later.
The score was tied 2-2 after six innings, and it would continue Oct. 29.
When it finally resumed, the Phillies posted a 4-3victory when Brad Lidge recorded his league-leading 48th save of the season.
A Memorable Halloween celebration
: Two days later on Oct. 31, Philadelphia played host to a four-mile parade that ended at Citizens Bank Park.
Second baseman Chase Utley had his famous proclamation when he shouted “World ****** Champions!” If you were there, I’m sure you remember it.
Wheeze Your Way To The End
: On Oct. 16, 1983, the “Wheeze Kids” Phillies were eliminated in five games by the Baltimore Orioles in Game Five of the World Series, an easily forgotten Fall Classic involving the Phillies.
The defeat also officially closed the window from the Phillies 1980 championship season.
The ‘83 team was adorned with the likes of veteran ex-Reds Tony Perez and Joe Morgan, who were joined with former teammate Pete Rose.
Mike Schmidt, Garry “Lee” Maddox, Ivan DeJesus, Gary “Sarge” Matthews and Bo Diaz (remember him?) were part of the 30-plus lineup. Schmidt popped 40 homers and drove in 109 runs during the regular season, and Matthews was named the NLCS MVP.
Steve Carlton was in the twilight of his career and still won 15 games. He formed a formidable duo with Cy Young winner John Denny, who won 19 games. Charlie Hudson and Kevin Gross became household names.
The real strength of the team was in the bullpen where Al Holland and Willie Hernandez teamed with aging Ron Reed - 40 at the time - and Tug McGraw (38). And who could forget Sid Monge?
Who was the manager of this bunch? Fittingly, it was 59-year-old Paul Owens, who took over for Pat Corrales - who was suddenly fired at the All-Star Break with a 43-42 first-place record.
Owens guided the team to a 47-30 mark the rest of the regular season, and to a four-game victory in the postseason over the Dodgers.
Thanks for the Memories
: It was apparent the Phillies were shifting gears after the ‘83 season, and an overhaul had begun.
They released Rose, who hit .245 in ‘83, along with Morgan (.235), and Perez (.241). Rose was gone three days after they were eliminated by Baltimore.
: In October 1993, the Phillies capped their 97-win regular season with a Game Six NLCS 6-3 victory over the Braves. Ten years after the “Wheeze Kids,” Jim Fregosi’s rough-and-tumble bunch headed to the World Series.
Curt Schilling won the NLCS MVP with a 1.69 ERA, the same mark Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams had. Williams did have two wins in relief.
Wes Chamberlain - a name from the past - hit. 364, and Lenny Dykstra and Dave Hollins each hit two homers in the series.
In the World Series against Toronto, most people forget that Rickey Henderson worked a walk off Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams and was one of the two runners on base before Joe Carter launched his legendary three-run, walk-off homer for an 8-6 victory in Game Six for the championship.
Those Old Padres
: When I think about the Padres back in the day, a lot of good memories come to mind.
Before they made it to the World Series in 1984, San Diego was a hapless team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I loved watching them in their classic uniforms, and it also was special to watch a West Coast team because you didn’t see them often.
Probably my favorite Padre back then was first baseman Nate Colbert, who was your home run-strikeout hitter. Colbert once had five homers and 13 RBIs in a doubleheader sweep of Atlanta in 1972, and he still has the Padres all-time home run record of 163.
See if these Padres names stir a memory - Darrel Thomas, John Grubb, Fred Kendall, Ollie Brown, Cito Gaston, Enzo Hernandez, Leron Lee, Butch Metzger, and of course, the tiny, off-speed lefty Cy Young winner Randy Jones.
: On Oct. 18, 1967, the Flyers made their franchise debut in St. Louis and posted a 2-1 victory. Captain Lou Angotti and Ed Hoekstra tallied goals.
The Flyers won the old NHL West by one point over the Los Angeles Kings in a division that featured the fabled California Golden Seals. Bernie Parent and Doug Favell actually split the season, with Parent having one more game. Angotti was the team’s leading scorer with 49 points, followed by the legendary Gary Dornhoefer.
The Flyers lost to the Blues in seven games in the playoffs.
The Doctor Was In The House
: On Oct. 20, 1976, the Sixers made a monumental move for their franchise when they brought Julius Erving from the Nets for $3 million.
The Nets, who joined the NBA, were strapped for cash because the Knicks had demanded the Nets pay $4.8 million for an infringement on their already established NBA territory. Erving was a two-time ABA champ and three-time league MVP.
He led the team to 50 regular-season wins, and the team led the league in attendance. Erving took his team to the NBA finals, but they lost in six games to the Portland Trail Blazers with Bill Walton.
Erving did help the team to the 1983 NBA championship, and he retired after the 1986-87 season.
Those Halloween Costumes and Goodies
: Growing up, it was a real treat when your parents bought you one of those Collegeville Costumes.
They were the ones in the square box with the plastic cover in the middle. You could see the face of the mask through the plastic. It was a big deal to go to a drugstore, a department store, or even a W.T. Grant or Woolworth’s and pick out a costume. You would have the kind of mask with the rubber bands on the back that would wrap around your hair.
Along with the costumes, there always was the Brach’s Candy Corn, usually in a box. You could also get a big bag of it.
Do you remember the wax soda bottles? You could bite off the cap and drink a colored liquid.
Another Classic Game
: In the early 1970s, I remember having a game called “Sure Shot Baseball” by Ideal.
It was a two-person game played much the same way as outdoor baseball. The game consists of nine innings of three outs each. The “pitcher” rolls a plastic marble down a slide and it heads toward a batter controlled by their opponent. There was a bat you would swing to make contact.
You had to catch the ball to record an out. Depending where the ball went out of the miniature stadium would determine your hit. There were plastic runners that popped into slots at each base.
Do You Remember?
Every week, I’ll look back at a former player, manager, coach, or broadcaster who has crossed our lives over time. Do you remember Greg Gross?
The left-handed hitting York native spent 10 seasons with the Phillies from 1979-88. He primarily was a pinch-hitter and also had a steady globe. Gross broke into the majors with the Astros in 1973 and joined the Cubs in 1977. He finished his career with the Astros in 1989.
Gross hit .279 with the Phillies and .287 overall in 17 seasons.